Cross-Country Runners Talk Lucky, Most Comfortable Shoes

Karsen Silvernail

Cross-Country runners have a numerous number of shoes: as soon as they become uncomfortable while running, they are either thrown away or used for a different purpose. These runners take their shoes very seriously.

“I have 13 pairs of shoes currently in my training rotation,“ said Mathew Andrews, Assistant Cross-Country Coach.

Ben Miles, a junior on the cross-country team, said: “I own at least 20 pairs of running shoes.”

Although they have a lot of shoes, many of these shoes serve a different purpose from one another. Some runners have practice shoes, and others for competitions. Running shoes must have individual features for every runner, whether that is the perfect fit, the perfect amount of cushion and the right arch so while they are running, so they don’t have pain in their feet.

"I have some pairs that are more cushioned and stable for easy milage,” Andrews said. “I have another couple called flats that I use for workouts. Those are a little lighter, more responsive, and have less stack height which is better for running faster. And then I have a couple pairs of spikes that I race in, depending on the distance and surface of the race.”

Miles also has different shoes for different purposes. “During practices, I wear my trainers,” he said. “Currently, I am on my second pair of trainers for the season. I wear the same pair of spikes for races.”

These athletes spend a lot of time and money on these shoes, so they make sure they are comfortable enough to run a lot of miles with them. Some athletes may have a lucky pair of shoes or a tradition they do before a competition, whether it is a meal or music. But some let their skill and running do the talking. “I do not have any lucky shoes and I don’t have any traditions involved with racing,” Andrews said. “You’ve got to control what you can on race day and having to stick to some superstition or tradition creates the potential for excess stress.”

Miles said: “I don’t necessarily have a lucky pair of shoes, but for certain workouts, I wear the same shorts. When it comes to racing, I wear the same socks, and I also wear a neon-colored head band. This year’s color is neon pink. Last year I wore neon yellow, but personally one tradition that I have is to listen to my pump-up playlist.”